Recipe: Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

I was on the hunt for a hearty but healthy snow-day meal when I came across this recipe for Lentil, Mushroom & Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie. Jack doesn’t really eat mushrooms or celery, though, so I started making substitutions–until the recipe was pretty different. Try it yourself!


Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato, Lentils, and Cauliflower

Makes about 6 pretty substantial servings


  • 5 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup brown or green lentils, washed and picked over
  • 3/4 cup dry steel cut oats
  • salt
  • paprika
  • cumin
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • head of cauliflower
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup beer (I used Sam Adams Boston Lager)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

Scrub each sweet potato and use a fork to punch a few holes in each one. Wrap up in paper towels and microwave for about 5 minutes each. (Note: Next time, I will try peeling the sweet potatoes first and then cooking them in the pressure cooker.) Set aside to cool.

In a medium pot, combine the lentils and oats with salt, paprika, and cumin to taste, along with 5 cups of water. (Note: Next time, I will replace 1 cup of water with beer or veggie stock for more flavor.) Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat and let it simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes. The lentils should be soft but not mushy. You’ll need to stir pretty regularly, as the oats have a habit of sticking to the pot. If there’s liquid remaining after 15-20 minutes, drain into a colander.

Wash the cauliflower and break it up into smaller pieces. Scrub, peel, and chop the carrots. I kept them in fairly large chunks, because I didn’t want them to dissolve too much in the cooking process. Mix the cauliflower and carrots together in a pressure cooker and bring to pressure, then set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Peel the sweet potatoes (you’ll have to do this by hand) and mash them in a bowl.

Warm olive oil in a large skillet or stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft and translucent. Take the heat down to medium-low and mix in the cauliflower, carrot, lentil and oat mixtures. Next, add the vegetable stock, beer, tomato sauce, soy sauce, and any more seasoning you might like. Simmer for 5 minutes until there’s not a lot of liquid left.

Spread the veggie mixture into a 9×13″ baking dish. Spoon and spread the sweet potato mixture on top.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the bottom layer bubbles up at the edges.


This recipe made quite a bit of food! We froze about half of it. It’s not particularly pretty, but it was very good–and very good for you! I also like that the meal could be made in advance and then baked later. Next time, I’ll add beets and maybe peas as well. The possibilities are endless!

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